SEMINAR PAPER BY GUEST SPEAKER:
A Scientific Review and Religious Commentary
on The Origin of the Universe and The Theory of Evolution
Dr Farid Amir Isahak
MBBS (Queensland, Australia); M MED (National University, Singapore); MRCOG (UK)
According to current scientific knowledge, the Big Bang occurred about 13.7 billion years ago, followed by the formation of matter which coalesced to form galaxies, stars, planets and other cosmic entities. These celestial bodies are highly organized and are governed by the certain laws. Scientific discoveries have allowed us to look back into time and unravel much of the mysteries of the Universe and its origin.
About 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth was formed. On it were conditions favourable to the emergence of the first primitive life- forms. That was the beginning of Life on Earth (and possibly in the entire Universe.) According to science, this first living organism must have evolved, through spontaneous random mutations to acquire the ability to multiply itself and through accumulated mutations, adapt to the prevailing environment. Through the process of ‘Natural Selection’, the ones who were most suited for survival did so while the others perished. As the population and complexity of these organisms increased, they also inhabit a wider and wider area carried by the forces of nature, or by acquired ability (again as a result of random mutations) to move themselves. Their evolution resulted in them differentiating into the plant and animal kingdoms (and the primitive forms in between), each with millions of members (species and sub-species) divided into groups with levels of similarities. They have since made virtually all the Earth’s land, rivers and seas their habitats with some conquering the skies and others hiding in the deepest crevices and depths of the land and oceans.
In the animal kingdom, intelligent organisms developed, culminating in the most advanced intelligent animal of all mankind (Homo Sapiens). He was preceded by species remarkably similar to him some of which are extinct and others still extant.
Scientists contend that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming and that it takes place is a Fact and not Theory anymore.
Malaysia is a multi-religious country with its first principle of Rukun Negara being Belief in God. Most religions teach that God created man in his present form and we did not have monkeys as our ancestors.
How do we reconcile this with current scientific knowledge? Do we teach the scientific version in school and the religious version at home and confuse everyone? Do we deny scientific ‘facts’ in favour of religious ‘Truths’? Or do we reject religious teachings in the face of scientific ‘facts’?
These are the questions that have to be answered and the talks will attempt to reconcile the science and religion because the two cannot be separated.
The above paper was presented at a seminar for Science teachers at the Seri Malaysia Hotel, Taiping on 16th September 2006. The seminar was jointly organised by the District Education Office of Larut Matang and Selama, and the District Science Panel, chaired by SMK Dato' Wan Ahmad Rasdi.
Dr. Farid Amir is a medical consultant. As a scientist he has special interest in Quantum Physics, Origin of the Universe, the Theory of Evolution and on science and religion. He is active in many Islamic and Interfaith NGOs. He is the Chairman of INSAF (Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship).
He is a pioneer of Anti-Aging Medicine in Malaysia. He is a member of the Society of Anti-Aging Medicine Malaysia, Healthy Aging Society Malaysia, and a Board Member of the International Health & Longevity Foundation based in Japan. He is also a pioneer in promoting Holistic Integrated Medicine (combining modern, natural and complementary therapies), and in promoting Healthy Natural Menopause in Malaysian women.